Written byShalini Ojha
In a shocking episode, 68 students of a college were forced to remove their underwear to "prove" they weren't menstruating on Thursday.
All this happened at principal Rita Raninga's behest, alleged students. After media reports, the administration has promised strict action.
The abhorrent incident happened at the Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute (SSGI), which is run by followers of Swaminarayan Mandir.
Established in 2012, the college shifted to a new building in 2014. The building is at the premises of Swaminarayan Kanya Mandir.
The college offers B.Com, B.Sc., and BA courses, and has 1,500 students. Of them, 68, who come from remote areas, stay in a hostel.
The college has strict rules under which menstruating girls aren't allowed to "touch" others or enter the kitchen.
But this week, the hostel administration complained to principal Raninga that some of the menstruating girls not only "mingled" with others, but also roamed in the kitchen and campus.
One of the students, Durga (it's a pseudo name) told Ahmedabad Mirror they were insulted.
Durga revealed that when they were attending a lecture, rector Anjaliben complained to the principal.
"We were forced to queue up outside in the passage. The principal abused and insulted us, asking which of us were having our periods. Two of us who were menstruating stepped aside," she said.
Despite this, they were taken to washroom, forced to strip to "confirm" they weren't on periods.
Another student, Shakti (a pseudo name), said the principal, rector, and trustees constantly insult them over this issue. It's like they are punished for having periods, she claimed.
She said when they complained to trustee Pravin Pindoria about this, he replied they can take legal action, but will have to vacate the hostel.
He also forced students to sign a letter claiming nothing happened.
Another trustee, PH Hirani told the daily that since the college shares campus with a temple, girls are expected to follow sect's rules.
"However, what happened to the students is unfair. Action will be taken," he said.
And the in-charge V-C Dr. Darshana Dholakiya formed a fact-finding committee and promised to take strict action "against whoever is responsible for this kind of behavior".
After the news surfaced, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said an inquiry team would visit the girls.
"NCW has also appraised the Kutch University in-charge Vice-Chancellor Darshna Dholakiya and the DGP of Gujurat, Shivanand Jha (IPS) to look into the matter thoroughly and report to the Commission at the earliest on their action taken," a press note by NCW read.
Separately, Leelaben Ankola, the spokesperson of the Gujarat State Women Commission (GSWC) said, "I have spoken with the Police Commissioner and DSP Kutch regarding the matter. I have ordered them to carry out an investigation regarding the shocking incident."
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